5 things I wish I'd known before I bought a UK property
Buying a property in the UK for the very first time can be one of the most rewarding moments of a person’s life. From making that first step onto the property ladder, to creating and crafting a place you can call home, there’s nothing quite like stepping through the door into a property that is all yours.
Of course, buying your first home can be a rather confusing process, what with the many ins and outs to consider. With this lengthy process comes many lessons to learn from, in time for if and when you buy another property in the UK.
As such, we’ve listed five common things that UK property buyers wish they had known before they bought their first property, to help future first time buyers in the UK to have a better understanding of what to expect.
1. City suburbs offer some of the best investment opportunities
City centre living is something that a multitude of individuals and couples alike dream of pursuing at some point in their lives. Yet with these dreams of luxury contemporary living, often comes a rather large price tag, particularly in the top UK cities.
Property in London and apartments in Manchester and Liverpool city centres, for example, can often be rather costly compared to those of other cities. However, if it’s your dream to reside in these areas, you’re probably tempted to pay the price.
That being said, it’s well worth carrying out some thorough research into the city that you’re looking to buy in, particularly on the surrounding suburbs which are about to be developed. Take Manchester, for example; this smallish city is undergoing a huge amount of development in its surrounding areas, in an attempt to expand the city centre perimeters and accommodate the increasing demand from property investors.
Investing in these upcoming areas is sure to save you a fair amount of money in comparison to purchasing a property in the heart of the current city centre. Better yet, you’re more likely to see an impressive return on investment further down the line, when what was once a suburb is classed as city centre living.
2. Negotiation is always an option
The property market is very unique and you’ll find no other quite like it. At first, you’ll probably find everything a little overwhelming, including the search for your dream property. It might surprise you to discover that 40% of property hunters view at least six properties before finding one that suits them just right. In fact, some house hunters spend as long as 16 weeks to make an offer on their dream home-to-be!
It’s no wonder, then, that after all the pencilled-in dates, the property tours and the disappointments discovered along the way, property buyers are eager to make an offer the moment they find their perfect property. This excitement often leads to offers being made without the thought of negotiating on the price, when in actual fact, the seller would have been happy to let the property go for a few thousand less.
The same can be said for a dream home that has gone to a buyer offering a higher price. The seller will be happy to accept further offers if it really is a worthwhile price. Negotiation is worthwhile on all property purchases, to try and better the price you purchase your property for and to improve your chances of winning your dream home, too.
3. Organise a Decision in Principle when possible
This rings particularly true when looking at purchasing property in a hot UK city centre. Liverpool property, Manchester property and apartments in London are extremely popular choices when it comes to property investors on the lookout for their next purchase. As such, it’s not surprising that many of these properties are snapped up just days, sometimes even hours, of being put on the market.
To be in with the chance of securing your ideal property in these locations, it’s well worth securing a Decision in Principle before even booking in some property viewings. This is confirmation from a mortgage provider that they are happy to lend you the funds required to purchase a property of a certain value, which can stand you in good stead during your search.
If you find the ultimate property for you and you have a feeling that it’s going to be a popular choice amongst many, prepare your Decision in Principle prior to the viewing, so that you’re ready to jump in with an offer that’s solid. You could beat other viewers to the punch, who may not have been as proactive in their approach as yourself.
4. Make sure what’s included in the price is down on paper
Whether you’re seeing the house for yourself and all of its beautiful fixtures and fittings, or are buying off-plan having looked at the concept images of how your future home will look, it happens all too often where property buyers are left without everything they expected.
It could be the perfectly kept kitchen units or the fitted wardrobes that blended seamlessly with their surroundings. Sometimes we can be shown certain features of a property, only for them to have disappeared when you return. To avoid this common misfortune, it’s an absolute must to ensure that everything you were hoping to have included in the price of the property, is included in the final written agreement between you and the seller.
It might sound silly to have to ask for the kitchen units to be kept as part of the property, for example, but if this is something you really loved about the property, be sure to have it agreed in writing before the final sale is made. The same goes for off-plan properties, too. An design of the property may have been shown to you, without you realising that certain aspects of the design come at an additional price.
5. Have at least an additional 15% on top of your deposit saved
It’s all well and good having your 10% deposit saved and ready to go for when you find your ideal home, but having an additional 15% of your deposit saved will help you immensely when the sale goes through.
Many people either forget or are unaware of what the total cost amounts to, when it comes to the additional fees of buying a home in the UK. Solicitors fees, the cost of a surveyor and stamp duty are some of the fees associated with a property purchase and can mount up to a hefty sum of money on top of what you’re already paying out.
As such, make sure you have the money to cover these fees for when the time comes around to pay up. It will save you a lot of the stress and hassle you would be faced with if you have to make up this money in a short space of time.